I’ll never forget it – just 3 weeks ago I went to the doctor’s office where she looked at my A1C (which came in at 12.2) and told me “You have to go on Insulin right away”. I felt like I got punched in the stomach. My father had diabetes too, and he was on insulin. He died on insulin too. It slowly robbed him of the ability to fight off infection and he died of diabetes related complications. It wasn’t a fast death, they took his toe, then half his foot, then his foot, then his leg just below the knee. Diabetes took his eye sight (he could see, but he needed severe corrective lenses and couldn’t drive anymore). Diabetes took his health, but more importantly his independence and his dignity.
I said no.
My doctor was astounded. “What do you mean no”? I repeated myself. “NO, absolutely not. I will not now or ever take insulin.”
She looked at me and said “Buddy you are crazy because your A1c is 12.2 that means your average blood sugar is about 309, your high’s are probably hitting 450 and your lows are probably 250-ish. If you say no, you better start taking a baby aspirin every day because you will have a heart attack or stroke out and I mean SOON.”
I told her “I’ll add glipizide to my metformin” to which she replied “It’s too late for that”. I said I would diet and exercise too, she said we are past that too. She then wrote out a prescription for Januvia and said to take it with my Metformin, but she doubted it would work. She said if I didn’t take the insulin I was going to die.
I’m 43 years old.
I’m not going to take insulin.
I went home and looked up Januvia. Aside from costing me $100 I wanted to know what kind of drug it was. Bad news. First of all she shouldn’t have told me to take Metformin with it. The USDA issued a statement in 2009 that said not to take it with Metformin. It causes Pancreatic cancer. That’s what Steve Jobs died of right? I’m not paying $100 a month to get pancreatic cancer. The least they could do is comp’ it since I’m going to be the one dying.
Nope. So what now?
I started doing some research. It seemed that the best solution was diet and exercise but she said it was too late… I’ve got to do something… I’m going to give it a go, and a serious one. Ok – time to make a list of foods that I’m going to eat (and I mean I’m only going to eat the foods on this list).
The first thing I wanted to establish with myself is that from now on I don’t trust anyone. If I can’t see how many grams of sugar are in something I will not eat it. That means if I eat something like Salsa I have to make it, same with everything else… even breakfast sausage.
The next thing I wanted to do is avoid anything artificial in the way of sweetners. I do not use splenda, or anything else (including agave which I know isn’t artificial). Splenda gave me terrible nose bleeds. If I have to have something sweet I’ll use raw honey or fruit pulp to sweeten it up. However learning to like things the way they are must be a first priority if I am going to take down my blood sugar and keep it down. I’m convinced that we have been trained to to need sweet stuff, and the more I continue with this the more I am enjoying food the way it is meant to be.
Yogurt was good, obviously I need yogurt in my diet but most are loaded with sugar. Ah… wait a minute… middle eastern folks have yogurt that they put on meat and on pita bread… it isn’t sweet like American Yogurt so it doesn’t have a lot of sugar. I found one in the local fresh market that had 1 gram of sugar per serving. Perfect. I need to adapt to a different way of eating yogurt because I need the benefits from it.
Tomatoes – this is a super fruit for diabetics, the ADA lists tomatoes as one of the fruits we can eat more of if we are hungry 🙂 It is also one of those heart healthy fruits. Tomatoes can also be used to make other things I can eat.
Berries – Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Raspberries are all very good for you. According to University of Wisconsin Hospital they are all low GI fruits. In addition the University of Illinois claims they found that Blueberry and Blackberry wines are effective in helping people with diabetes control their blood sugar. I didn’t know what to think about that, so I haven’t gone hog wild and put them in my “eat whenever/whatever pile”. I do however eat half a cup of mixed berries for desert after I eat a protein heavy meal. The great thing about that is you can take some heavy whipping cream and throw it in a blender with half a teaspoon of raw honey and a teaspoon of vanilla to make a really great whipped cream to go over it.
Grapefruit and Green Apples are on my list of low GI fruits. I haven’t eaten any grapefruit but it is definitely on the list of foods I’m getting to put in my body. Green Apples on the other hand I’ve had quite a number of. They are delicious and they can kill a sweet craving. At night around 9 or 10pm I’ll get a sweet tooth. I always have. When this happens I’ll go to the fridge and grab a green apple (I like them cold and crunchy).
Walnuts and Flax seeds are God’s gift to diabetics. They contain a number of really good nutrients that help lower your cholesterol and curb hunger. They also have a very low GI score (about 20% of blueberries).
Beans (kidney, pigeon peas, lima beans, whatever) are the musical fruit and they really do the body good if you are a diabetic. (Hint we have Beans and Tomatoes… what can we do with that? HMMMM or should I say MMMMM)
Onions, Cinnamon, avocado, summer squash, eggs, dark chocolate, broccoli, olive oil, fish, lean meats in general, spinach, greens, yams (not sweet potatoes, although sweet potatoes are OK)the list goes on and on.
So what did/do I eat? What happened you ask? Well in 3 weeks I’ve gone from an average of 309 to a fasting glucose of 108. My average fasting glucose is 113 (but my lowest one was this morning and it was 108). My doctor was wrong, it wasn’t too late.
I think they just feel like we aren’t going to change and even if we do the change won’t be drastic enough. Don’t let a doctor talk you into taking insulin if you don’t need it. Get a second opinion and talk to them about holding out for a month so you can make some severe changes and see how things go.
So here is what I’ve been eating (and I’ve lost about 18 pounds so far in 3 weeks too!)
In the morning:
I like to saute some fresh mushrooms, green pepper, and spinach in a pan and then make an omelette. I also cook some breakfast sausage. I make my breakfast sausage in 4 pound batches and freeze it. Here is the recipe:
Diabetic Breakfast Sausage: (I got this from Alton Brown ala the food network. I took out the sugar and added a little garlic. I love Alton Brown he is an outstanding wealth of knowledge for all things cooking) You will need to double this recipe if you want to do it in 4 pound batches and freeze it like I do.
2 pounds of ground pork (grind it yourself, hand grinders are cheap, I use a grinder attachment for my kitchen aid). Pick a lean cut, I use pork sirloin or boneless pork loin. Sure it is drier but cutting the fat a bit is a good thing, and you can use the opportunity to put a little olive oil in the pan when you cook them which is only doing your body good!
2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves (dry if you don’t have it)
2 tsp thyme finely chopped fresh leaves (again dry if you don’t have it)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic
I also like to eat oatmeal for breakfast. When I do eat Oatmeal I’ll take 2 cups of water and boil it on the stove. I use Quaker Oats (not the quick version) and I put 1 cup of oats into the boiling water, and stir it well. I then put the cover on the pot and take it off the burner to sit for about 5 minutes. When I take the cover off I stir it again, I add about 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1/4 cup of whole milk, and 1 tsp of raw honey. It is important to get raw honey and not that processed garbage. Raw honey isn’t filtered or strained so it has all of the stuff that helps your immune system flourish. It helps with allergies, and a tsp of it isn’t going to kill you mixed with all this dairy and protein.
For lunches I like to have a grilled piece of meat like Chicken Breast and a nice fresh salad. Sometimes I’ll make my own soup and have that, with barley or brown rice in it.
For dinner, I like (all home-made) chili, tacos with stone ground tortias & salsa, soups, steaks with asparagus and yams, chicken breast with Brussel sprouts and salad, etc…
Desert I mentioned earlier 1/2 cup of berries and some home made whip cream. I’ve been eating ONLY these things and I can tell you right now they have saved my life already. No breads, no pastas, no white potatoes, no granulated sugar, just stuff you make yourself, using real non-processed foods. If it is processed you probably don’t want it.
Oh one last thing… cheese… there are some cottage cheeses that have 1 gram of sugar, I use those, and I use only good quality block cheese, not slices and if I need to shred cheese I shred the block cheese. I do not use pre-shredded cheese or any cheese that comes in a slice, including the deli american cheeses.
I hope this helps you like it has me. As with anything you read on the Internet, print it out and bring it to your doctor to get it signed off on before you try it. You might have allergies to some of these things, and you might have special circumstances that would make this unhealthy for you. All I can tell you is this worked for me. I hope it works for you.